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Editorial: Durand Line is not a border but merely a fictive line

The Durand Line is not a border that officially divides two countries but it is merely a fictive line that was signed under the duress.


The 2,430-kilometer long Durand Line was signed in 1893 as a non-popular agreement between Sir Mortimer Durand, a diplomat and civil servant of British India and the Afghan king, Abdur Rahman Khan. The line cuts along the Pashtun tribal areas and further south through the Baluchistan region, dividing Pashtun and Baluch ethnics, living on each of the two sides. The Durand Line was drawn for a specific time of 100 years, for administrative purpose. It was not thought to be a permanent border. From a geopolitical and geostrategic perspective, it has been described as one of the most dangerous and disputed imperialistic lines in the beginning. Actually it was a defensive strategy of British India against Russian expanding their policy. The nation of Pakistan was not existing at that time and been born many years late. Pakistan has been attempting to force Afghanistan to formally recognize it as a permanent border line. Afghanistan considers that the Durand Line agreement is not applicable to Pakistan. On July 26, 1949, when Afghan-Pakistan relations were rapidly deteriorating, a Loya Jirga declared that non of the people: neither did the Pashtuns on the geographically above side (in Pashto LAR) and nor the people on the geographically down side (in Pashto BAR) accept the imaginary Durand line. They said similar lines tried to divide the tribes and that all previous Durand Line agreements were unacceptable, too. The Loya Jirga also announced that the line had been imposed on Afghans and was a diktat. Since its birth, Pakistan remained disputed for Afghanistan and to the Pashtun and Baluch tribes across the Durand Line. That’s why unilaterally Durand Line could not be recognized as a permanent border because it was not thought to be one. The seven tribal agencies and five frontier regions, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan, Pashtun areas of Baluchistan including Sibi that borders Sindh province of Pakistan historically belong to Afghanistan, from the beginning until now. The Gandamak treaty signed on 26 May, 1879 by King Mohammad Yaqub Khan and Sir Louis Cavagnari of British government of India also declared it as the territory of Afghanistan. According to the international norms, the governments of Islamabad and Kabul have no moral and legal authorities to decide over the Line. Durand line issue can only be decided by the people of Afghanistan and the people living in these territories. Afghanistan peace and stability does not depend on the non-recognition of Durand Line as permanent border. Insecurity and instability have been imposed by enemies, following strategic goals in Afghanistan. Islamabad still continues the British forward policy and strategic depth into Afghanistan. Peace and stability in Afghanistan is needed for national unity and firm commitment against the international enemies of peace. The government has to frame some laws against national and territorial corruption because it is more dangerous than the financial and individual corruption. It is not only the geographical history but integrity that cannot be compromised at any cost: especially not the cost of a big tribe. While people think that people are only bound by a passport, there is more behind the surface. When neither LAR (upper Afghan/Pashtuns) nor BAR (Afghan/Pashtuns on the down side) accept the fictive boarder, how can other people force the border although its does not exist? How can something non-existing be argued and why do people want to divide the tribe? Pashtuns were tricked and now outside forces try to make the imaginary real, due to strategy: the geographical territory Loy Afghanistan (in Pashto: great, original Afghanistan) gains is not called the Silk Road without any purpose. It has not only sea roads through Balochistan for international maritime-trade but also ways through China, to the east, and to Europe to the west. It has the highest mountains and is therefore protected by nature from nature events. Just as Germany was divided by the Berliner Mauer (the wall of Berlin) for many years, here is a fictive wall that divides the unity of Pashtuns. German people succeeded in ripping down the wall by their own will and Pashtuns will succeed in ripping down the verbally forced walls by others, as they are screaming for unity for years.

By Orbal Halim, Germany


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